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LAKE DISTRICT & PATAGONIA: LOCAL IMMERSION

from USD$ 4,620 / 12 days

Summary

Day 1: Arrival in Santiago – City Tour.
Day 2: Puerto Varas – Naturalist Circuit.
Day 3: Chiloé Island: Penguins Colony.
Day 4: Puerto Varas – Two Volcanoes Hike.
Day 5: Huilliche Local Immersion.
Day 6: Punta Arenas – Magdalena Island.
Day 7: Torres del Paine – Base Torres Hike.
Day 8: T. del Paine – French Valley Hike.
Day 9: Patagonian Estancia La Peninsula.
Day 10: Kayak and Cave Paintings
Day 11: Puerto Natales to Santiago.
Day 12: Santiago.

Overview

From smoldering volcanoes and timeless forests to glacier-carved mountains, ice fields, and wind-swept plains, southern Chile is a wonderland of unbelievable landscapes that have drawn people from all over the world for centuries, turning it into a cultural melting pot. On this 12-day tour, you’ll travel from the idyllic wilds of the Lakes District to the rugged expanses of southern Patagonia, encountering incredible nature, outdoor adventure, local wildlife, and cultural and culinary experiences that are wholly unique to this region of the world.


Itinerary Details

DAY 1
SANTIAGO DE CHILE

Welcome to Chile! A representative from our company will meet you at the Santiago International Airport to welcome you upon arrival. During the drive to your hotel, our representative will tell you more about your upcoming itinerary, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Private Half Day Tour: A Bite of Santiago.

During the afternoon, you’ll head out on a tour of the city where you’ll learn about Chilean history and culture by visiting the city center and other important monuments, as well as getting a taste for the local cuisine by visiting food markets and stalls to try traditional dishes, learn about their preparation, and meet locals.

Meals: Food samples.

Overnight: Eco Boutique Bidasoa Hotel.

DAY 2
SANTIAGO DE CHILE – PUERTO MONTT – PUERTO VARAS

At a pre-arranged time, we’ll pick you up from your hotel in Santiago to take you privately to the airport for your flight to Puerto Montt. Once you arrive, a representative will be waiting to welcome you and drive you to the Lahuen Ñadi Natural Reserve, a small park in the Lake District.

Known as the “Gateway to Patagonia,” the Lakes District boasts of some of Chile’s most spectacular but undiscovered natural wonders, as well as an incredible biodiversity of plant and wildlife. During our stay here, we’ll be using the town of Puerto Varas as our base camp.

Private Half Day Tour: Lahuen Ñadi Natural Circuit.

On this first day, after flying from Santiago to Puerto Montt, we’ll head to a nearby natural reserve for an easy hike to introduce you to the flora and fauna of southern Chile, guided by a professional naturalist. On the way, we’ll pass the scenic River Maullín before reaching the reserve, which protects some of the region’s threatened temperate rainforests as well as one of the last patches of native Alerce trees in the area. We’ll then head to Puerto Varas for the evening.

Meals: Breakfast.

Overnight: Cabaña del Bosque Hotel.

DAY 3
PUERTO VARAS

Private Full Day Tour: Chiloe, Penguin colony and local culture.

We’ll pick you up from your hotel in the morning to head to the main island of Chiloé, one of the most fascinating places in the Lakes District, home to a distinct culture and way of life, incredible plant and wildlife, and magical tales about ghost ships, mermaids, and warlocks. Crossing over onto the main island, we’ll head to a penguin colony at Puñihuil, where we’ll be able to observe Humboldt and Magellanic penguins. We’ll then explore local communities and towns to learn more about these islands. The Chilote people are extremely welcoming and open, so we’ll have chances to meet and chat with locals for a more immersive, authentic experience. We’ll then return to the mainland and head back to Puerto Varas for the evening.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.

Overnight: Mero Gaucho Boutique Hotel.

DAY 4
PUERTO VARAS

Private Full Day Tour: Calbuco Volcano Trekking.

Ready to hike a volcano? Today we will hike to the Calbuco volcano, which is one of a series of Lake District’ stratovolcanoes. You’ll pass through landscapes that have seen recent eruptions and are covered in black lava and basaltic rock formations, as well as the temperate rainforests that encircle the base of the volcano. During the hike, the guide will tell you all about the geology of the volcanoes and landscapes, pointing out how local flora and fauna have adapted to living in such a harsh, unpredictable environment.

After a 14-kilometer medium-difficulty trek with a break along the way for lunch,  we’ll be returning to Puerto Varas for a relaxing evening.

Meals: Breakfast and Box Lunch.

Overnight: Cabaña del Bosque Hotel.

DAY 5
PUERTO VARAS – PUERTO MONTT – PUNTA ARENAS

Private Full Day Tour: A Day in Huilliche Territory.

Today in the morning, you’ll get a chance to learn about one of the indigenous groups that calls the Lakes District home: the Huilliche. The Huilliche are one of several groups for whom this region is an ancestral home, but colonizers and settlers have taken their lands and eroded their cultural, political, and societal influence here, but these groups still exist and practice their unique cultures. At this traditional Huilliche village, you’ll get to learn about their way of life, history, cuisine, medicine, and more, to gain a more nuanced understanding of the history of the Lakes District.

In the afternoon, you’ll be taken to the airport for your flight to Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost cities in the world. Once you arrive, a representative will be waiting to welcome and drive you to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.

Overnight: La Yegua Loca Boutique Hotel.

DAY 6
PUNTA ARENAS – PUERTO NATALES

Shared Half Day Tour: Navigation to Magdalena Island.

In the morning, you’ll get to experience one of the most exciting parts of living in Patagonia: the amazing wildlife. You’ll hop on a boat tour that will head to Magdalena Island, a protected nature reserve that is home to thousands of Magellanic penguins! The island is a breeding ground for them, and your guide will tell you all about this species as you follow the marked paths through the colony, heading toward a scenic lighthouse where you’ll be told more about the island’s ecosystem.

After arriving back in Punta Arenas, you’ll swing by the hotel to pick up your things and will then be transferred to Puerto Natales. Along the way, you’ll pass beautiful landscapes and probably see some local wildlife. We’ll also pause periodically to stretch our legs and use the bathroom. When we arrive in Puerto Natales, you’ll be taken to your hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening before tomorrow’s big hike.

Meals: Breakfast and Snacks.

Overnight: Vendaval Hotel.

DAY 7
PUERTO NATALES - TORRES DEL PAINE

Shared Full Day Tour: Base Torres.

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll head out early to take on Torres del Paine’s most iconic hike: the Base de Torres or Base of the Towers hike! Along the way, be sure to pause and look around to take in the spectacular scenery. After reaching the entry point to the valley, the trail descends into the forest along the valley floor. The trail continues through an ancient forest of lenga trees until it reaches the base of a steep glacial moraine, which we must climb up. It’s the most difficult part of the trail, but well worth it because at the top, you get the ultimate reward: the famous view of the dramatic Torres: the trio of granite spires for which the park is named, rising above a blue glacial lake. We’ll pause here a while to rest, enjoy lunch, and soak up the view before retracing our steps back to the trailhead. From there, we’ll drive back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest.

Meals: Breakfast and Box Lunch.

Overnight: Vendaval Hotel.

DAY 8
PUERTO NATALES - TORRES DEL PAINE

Shared Full Day Tour: French Valley Trekking at Torres del Paine

The French Valley is one of the three main highlights of  the “W” Trek — the famous circuit that navigates the mountains of Torres del Paine in a w-shaped path — and it is one of the most striking places along the route.

The day begins at Pudeto Dock on the far side of the vibrant Lake Pehoe, where we will take a catamaran across the lake to Paine Grande. Upon arriving at Paine Grande, the sight of the mountains looming overhead is astonishing. we’ll start the hike up toward the mountains skirting the edge of the massif. Along the way, we’ll encounter shimmering lakes, forests, and rolling grasslands. We’ll hike upwards into the mountains to the entry point of the French Valley called the French Lookout, where you’ll be treated to amazing views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and a hanging glacier that regularly calves parts of the glacier down the mountain walls.

After a pause for lunch and to soak up the scenery, we’ll retrace our steps back to the catamaran, recross the lake, and return to the hotel for the evening.

Meals: Breakfast and Box Lunch.

Overnight: Vendaval Hotel.

DAY 9
PUERTO NATALES

Shared Full Day Tour: Estancia La Peninsula 

Today, we’ll visit one of these historic “Patagonian” ranches to learn about its history and culture, as well as how it’s making moves to turn sheep farming in Patagonia into a more sustainable enterprise.

Estancia La Peninsula is located on a remote peninsula that’s a 30-minute boat ride up into the fjords from Puerto Natales, the gateway town to Torres del Paine. Arriving at the estancia, we’ll spend the full day immersing ourselves in the estancia lifestyle through activities and educational demonstrations. You’ll have the choice of either going on a horseback ride, hike, or drive to explore the property, which has amazing views of the fjords and is a sanctuary for local birds and other wildlife. Returning to the ranch house, you’ll also get to observe sheep-shearing and sheepdog demonstrations and eat a traditional Patagonian barbecue known as “asado al palo” which is enjoyed with other side dishes and Chilean wine.

At the end of the day, we’ll take the boat back to Puerto Natales and return to your hotel for the night.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.

Overnight: Vendaval Hotel.

DAY 10
PUERTO NATALES

Shared Half Day Tour: Kayaking Eberhard Fjord.

Today you’ll get to appreciate the rugged spectacle of Patagonia’s fjords from a wholly unique perspective: a kayak! We’ll head to Puerto Prat, where we’ll be greeted by our hosts who operate the kayaking tour. These kind people open their homes to us and tell us about their lives in remote Patagonia. We’ll then receive our gear, listen to the safety lecture, and then head out onto the waters!

The excursion will navigate along the historic Eberhard Fjord, from Puerto Prat to Puerto Consuelo, passing by Kruger Island (Island of the Dead). During the excursion, we’ll pause on a remote shore to take a 40-minute walk to visit amazing viewpoints. We’ll then jump back into our kayaks and return to Puerto Prat to enjoy a tasty local meal consisting of fresh bread, homemade jams made from native berries (calafate, currant, raspberry, rhubarb or rosehip) and more! After eating, we’ll head back to Puerto Natales

Shared Half Day Tour: Cave Paintings and local wildlife

During the afternoon, we will look for historical relics. Our driver will pick us up from the hotel and drive us north of Puerto Natales to begin our exploration with a visit to the Archaeological Park inside the Estancia Ernesto Helmer, a landscape that arose from the seabed and that we can now walk through and observe its mountains, cracks, eaves, and valleys.

The buttocks of condors that dominate the sky in that area can be seen in the area, and when we reach the peak, we will be treated to a wonderful panoramic view of the Eberhard Fjord and Señoret Canal.

Cerro Benitez is part of a paleontological region that has cave paintings dating back 3,500 years. We’ll go to the “Cave of the Window” and then to a hidden cave on the south-east side (here we must access with frontal lamps, and point and elbows). This cave is around 70 square meters in size and stands at a height of 4 meters / 13 feet. We will be able to see millenary stalactites that formed over thousands of years as a result of the accumulation of salts and minerals combined with a steady drop of water. Leaving the cave after this thrilling tour we continue our trip in the direction of the “Dos Herraduras” eaves, passing through lush trees until we reach cave paintings on rocky walls.

Meals: Breakfast, Snack

Overnight: Vendaval Hotel.

DAY 11
PUERTO NATALES – PUNTA ARENAS – SANTIAGO DE CHILE

At a pre-arranged time, you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Puerto Natales for a private three hour drive to the airport in Punta Arenas. After arriving in Santiago and getting settled at the hotel, you’ll have the chance to explore Santiago on your own and get dinner.

Meals: Breakfast.

Overnight: Eco Boutique Bidasoa Hotel.

DAY 12
SANTIAGO DE CHILE

It’s the final day! Depending on when your flight is, you may have spare time during the day to visit some more of Santiago’s best points of interest. Below are a few suggestions, and we are available to help book/arrange any of these if you like. Then, at a prearranged time, you’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the airport for your departure flight. Safe travels!

Meals: Breakfast.

End of EcoChile Services.


2022-2023  SEASON RATES

Price based on Double Occupancy 

Price per person:
>> High Season:
 USD$ 4,665 /Per person. (October to March)
>> Shoulder Season: USDD$ 4,620 / per person (September & April)

* Please note that international and domestic flights are not included in this price.


Price Includes

  • Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary (11 nights)
  • All transportation as specified in the itinerary.
  • All activities as specified in the itinerary, including transportation, entrance fees, and meals.
  • Professional, Bilingual Guide during the activities
  • Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact, supporting you during your trip

Meals as mentioned on the Itinerary:

  • Day 1: Food Samples.
  • Day 2: Breakfast.
  • Day 3: Breakfast, Lunch.
  • Day 4: Breakfast, Box Lunch.
  • Day 5: Breakfast, Lunch.
  • Day 6: Breakfast.
  • Day 7: Breakfast, Box Lunch.
  • Day 8: Breakfast, Box Lunch.
  • Day 9: Breakfast, Lunch.
  • Day 10: Breakfast, Snack.
  • Day 11: Breakfast.
  • Day 12: Breakfast.

Not included

  • International and domestic flight tickets
  • Travel insurance (It is mandatory to purchase an insurance that covers expenses related to COVID-19)
  • PCR or antigen tests
  • Voluntary tipping
  • Items of personal use
  • Any item (meal, beverage or activity) not mentioned on the itinerary

Why is this trip sustainable?

  • The food provided is locally prepared with regional products.
  • You will travel plastic-free throughout your trip! We use reusable or glass bottles, as well as recyclable containers.
  • Our top recommended hotels include sustainability policies as part of their mission and operations.
  • We work in collaboration with local suppliers and communities in each location.
  • We keep our tour groups small, both to improve the experience for you and to reduce the impact on the places we visit.
  • We respect and value the lifestyles, beliefs, and traditions of the local communities we visit.

Our Health and Safety Promise

As the world continues to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that travelers, while eager to once again get out and explore the world, also want to be careful and only travel where and when it’s safe to do so. Just as you take your health and safety seriously, as well as the health and safety of the destinations and communities we visit, so do we. That’s why, in compliance with national and international health and safety regulations and recommendations, we’ve optimized our operations and tour itineraries to provide you with the safest itinerary possible.

This tour was specifically designed with social distancing in mind, avoiding overly crowded places without sacrificing the experience of discovering the destination. We only partner with hotels and tour operators that are similarly committed to putting their clients’ health first, frequently using cleaning and sanitizing services, and only offering tours and excursions when it’s fully safe to do so. All this and more are just some of the ways we’re innovating travel itineraries for a healthier, safer future.

If you have any questions, concerns, or requests regarding the health and safety procedures of this and other EcoChile tours, please let us know so we can answer your question or accommodate your request. Your safety is our top priority.

This listed price is based on two people sharing a double room. The price may vary due to the time of year you travel, the size of your group, accommodation availability and not counting special dates.
** Solo travelers or guests staying in single rooms must pay a single supplement. Otherwise, the rates would be readjusted upon request.
*** The single supplement is based on Regular tours, availability of which must be confirmed prior to reservation of the trip.
**** If the mentioned hotels are not available, alternative hotels will be provided of a similar standard ****

LAKE DISTRICT & PATAGONIA: LOCAL IMMERSION

Duration: 12 days

Price: from USD$ 4,620 / person

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